Growing up, you may have heard the phrase “find someone that makes you happy.” This in itself is a harmful template to be given as it creates the sentiment that we can only be happy with someone else. Being in a community and being in relationships can add to our happiness. However, you first need to know what can make yourself happy before relying on other people to do it for you.
When you’re living alone and not comfortable with living on your own, it can be harder to find ways to make yourself happy. This does not mean that you only want to socialise with others. It means that you haven’t discovered the things that make you happy, alone.
What usually happens in these situations is that because you are uncomfortable with being alone, you will turn to distraction. However, where you turn to distraction can often lead to harmful effects such as turning to work can lead to burnout or social media can exacerbate negative thinking.
To help avoid this, you need to understand a few things about yourself. If you made a list of what makes you feel happy, socialising would only take up one point. Therefore, there is space there to start designing what you can do to make yourself happy.
When we solely rely on others to make us happy, we disregard ourselves. When we do this, we fall into the thought pattern of “I am not enough.” If you feel like you are not enough, this will feed into your insecurities, your inner-critic and cause negative behaviours. In the end, this will be harmful to you and the quality of any of your relationships and of course your mental wellbeing.
Wanting to be happy by yourself is not as difficult as you might think. The first place to start is by accepting that you are enough. I’ve put together a few tips to help you as a starting point in discovering how you can accept that you are enough.
You don’t need to take action with the list straight away. Chances are this list will take a few weeks to compile. However, once you have done the exercise and placed the list or notes around your home, you can start using it when you feel lonely.
If you struggle to create a list of things that make you happy you may need to take a step back and evaluate how you are feeling. You can ask yourself the following questions to find out what’s going with you. Then see if you can create some solutions to those issues.
If you find yourself going quite deep and uncovering difficult thoughts, please do seek support from a counsellor who can help you work through those challenges.
If you keep relying on other people to make you happy, you will inevitably be disappointed by them. That will feed into your insecurities by telling you that they don’t want to spend time with you. Further, if you board the downward spiral of negative thinking, you may harm your mental wellbeing.
To help manage this, learning to accept that you are enough and that you can make yourself happy will be empowering in the long-run.
Puja McClymont is a certified Life Coach supporting ambitious women in senior-level roles, entrepreneurs and high profile individuals to be empowered by who they are and what they want from love, life & work.